Who ever said that middle school was the hardest time for making and keeping friends lied. Their nose is longer than Pinocchio’s after testifying as an alibi witness for the Big Bad Wolf at his trial. Middle-age is, by far the hardest time I’ve had with friends. Really, I no longer have any friends- everyone in my life once in that ranking has been dropped down to acquaintance status, and it doesn’t bother me a bit. It’s nothing against anyone personally, I would have a gazillion friends if I could. It was never my intention to become such a bad friend, nor was it my intention to downgrade everyone already in my life. People stop trying to keep up with you when you stop keeping up with them. Who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t give them the same back, right? Totally understandable.
So here’s why I can’t be your friend even if I tried:
1. Life happens and I can’t keep up as it is. Marriage, kids, budgets, careers, health, and household obligations all take precedence over all else. I can’t even find room in our schedules for my own alone time, let alone friends. Days blend in, time flies past, and I’m struggling to keep up with my family. If I even dared to make plans, I’d be forced to cancel last minute because someone woke up puking, the car broke down, someone else forget to write their appointment on the calendar, or whatever else always pops up unexpectedly that chains me to my role as Mom.
2. I’m too tired. Unless you want to curl up in bed and nap with me, or, better yet, take my kids far away so I can nap, I’m too run down and tuckered out to hang out with you. Sure we could meet at the playground so our kids can run wild while we enjoy each other’s company, but by enjoy each other’s company, I mean we trade off being the lookout while the other power naps. And I’ll even be nice enough to let you take lookout first, because I’ll be out cold the minute my booty hits that uncomfortably hard park bench.
3. Kids, kids, and more kids. Parenting 101 teaches everyone hard way that a ringing phone is a genetically encoded trigger for those uterus trophies to switch into Wild Animal Mode, forgoing any resemblance of a civilized human being for that of an all-in-one zoo. I have four. Four zoos contained within the walls of a three bedroom bungalow make it utterly impossible to have any kind of phone conversation. I feel horrible for any call-center managers who are required to review the previously recorded calls that were handled by the minions under them who took my call. Deafness is imminent. And welcome.
4. I don’t like peopling anymore. Peopling: Being friendly, open, and sociable in a public setting or crowded situation. Necessary interactions with strangers on a personal level. I don’t know what it is, I just don’t feel like dealing with peopling these days. Maybe I’m overwhelmed with life flying by. Maybe I’m just way too overtired to expend any more energy than I already have to. Maybe it’s the fact that my kids are hoodlums who make a public spectacle out of us. Maybe it’s all of the above.
5. I don’t feel like talking. I spend my entire waking existence speaking, reading, lecturing, nagging, counseling, and negotiating with one, some, or all of my four dependent tax claimants. The most overworked of all my muscles, and not in the way that would make my hubs smile do hard his face breaks my mouth is worn out. I think my vocal cords might be permanently damaged from the non-stop refereeing and impromptu karaoke parties that go in in the house of crazy. Either way, I just don’t feel like trying to hold a conversation with other adults by the time I can get a chance to talk to a friend. Besides that, I have nothing to talk about except the kids. Really, I eat, sleep, and breath child-rearing, what else could you expect me to have to say? “
Help me! Get me the fuck out of this mom job, it’s killing me slowly and painfully! Mercy, I’m calling MERCY! Why can’t you call Mercy?
6. Baggage. The shit I’ve got going on in my life is enough to drive the sanest of men mad. My thoughts are preoccupied whenever I find myself with minutes to spare, on whatever familial problems I’ve got going on. No marriage is perfect and it takes a lot of dedication to
keep from stabbing my husband keep the passion ignited and the flame burning. We’ve been through some stuff that’s left scars and bags of guilt and pain laying around, piled up everywhere. If I can barely manage to finagle the obstacle course, how could someone else who isn’t even involved?
7. I have nothing to wear, my hair’s a wreck, and my house is trashed. I’m sorry, but I’m too embarrassed of my rockin’ sahm style to let you come over. And there’s no way I csn leave this house either. Not unless we’re meeting in the grocery store with sticky, overtired kids dragging along. Trust me. That gets old real fast. There’s only so much camaraderie going on while you’re both trying to keep little hands from grabbing everything in sight while fighting the crowd of seniors dropped off by the retirement bus for senior discount day. You may be feeling each other’s pain, but that’s as far as that shopping date is going to go in terms of catching up with an old friend.
8. I’ve been there, done that, and don’t have a care about how it’s going for you. I’m sorry, in not sorry. I do love you. Dearly! I’m just too tired and cranky, too overwhelmed, and too full of kid-brain, too have an ounce of energy left to hear all about all the same kinda stuff going on in your life. It’s not that I don’t want to. I. Just. Can’t. You might as well hang an Out-Of-Order sign on my forehead and call it a day. If I can’t remember the name of the mini-demon ripped from my vagina, no matter how long ago, because that feeling will never leave my nerve-ending’s memory bank, than how am I supposed to remember the name of which Tom-Dick-Joe-Bob’s third cousin’s twice-removed sister-in-law who’s uncle’s son was caught trying to steal your boyfriend who swore he really was straight? I can’t and I won’t.
The ship has sailed on my ability to maintain friendships these days. It’s just the way it is- the monkeys to my circus, the lemons to make my lemon icee with, the short hand that I’ve been dealt from the stacked deck. It won’t be this way forever. One day, these kids will reach legal emancipation age and out the door with a boot to their behind they’ll go. Then I’ll be able to be your friend. Until then, please accept my sincerest condolences, because I can’t, and won’t, apologize for being a married mom of four on the brink of discovering what’s on the other side of insanity. See ya on #4’s graduation day, in the year 2030. Hope I’m worth the wait!